Hopelink's five centers in Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Shoreline and Sno-Valley serve as community resources – providing food, help with heating bills, eviction prevention and emergency financial assistance, community information and referrals for families and individuals in need of other essential support.
Hopelink housing is coordinated through the King County Family Housing Connection. This comprehensive entry and assessment system provides a single access point to housing and other services for homeless families. Hopelink serves about 200 families every year through our housing program, which provides more than just a temporary place to live. By helping families set and achieve goals, our housing and family development case managers play a key role in the journey from crisis to stability.
Hopelink’s asset building program is geared toward helping people find jobs, increase their income or take other steps toward long-term economic stability. Every Hopelink client in any of our 35 programs and services has access to classes and support aimed at obtaining employment, GED test prep, workforce literacy, English for Work, and financial literacy/management. Helping clients develop and implement solid plans for their future is fundamental to the program and a key to its success.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
For calendar year 2014, Hopelink programs achieved the following results:
13,949 people received fresh produce, canned goods, dairy and other foods through a Hopelink food bank – totaling more than 3.3 million pounds.
1,501,906 rides were provided to 43,467 people through Hopelink’s transportation brokerage services; getting people to and from their medical appointments in King and Snohomish Counties.
11,190 people were served through Hopelink's energy program. This program kept the heat on for families and seniors throughout the winter months.
187 Hopelink families were able to secure housing.
358 students enrolled in Hopelink adult education programs, with many gaining skills to manage their finances or completing English for Work classes.
323 people were served by Hopelink’s employment program.
Challenges faced by those we help include stagnating wages, reductions in federal benefits to those at the very bottom of the income ladder and increasing housing costs. Local and federal data point to an increasingly steep climb out of poverty, especially for people with multiple barriers to employment and stability. Recent research by Robert A. Moffitt, the Krieger-Eisenhower professor of economics at Johns Hopkins University, found that while the US provides more benefits than it did 40 years ago, these benefits are not accessible to the poorest people in the country -- including single parents and the unemployed. Coupled with this decrease in benefits are three disturbing trends in the labor market: wages for the lowest-skill jobs are decreasing, overall wages are stagnating, and the labor market is shrinking, with an increasing number of people opting out of even looking for work.
Developing the tools to exit poverty for good requires stability, long-term support and the opportunity to address multiple challenges simultaneously. The people we help -- families and individuals who are part of the fabric of our communities in east and north King County -- benefit from all of the services we provide, and often use the stability garnered from those services to create sustainable changes in their lives. Every day, Hopelink clients are finding new or better jobs, accessing higher education or training, gaining financial management skills, improving their language ability or simply receiving support while they weather unexpected crises. However, Hopelink can only provide these services with sufficient funding. Community support is absolutely essential to our success.